It’s Time to Exit the Manosphere

The Toxic Truth Behind the Male Socio-Sexual Hierarchy


Socio-sexual pyramid graphic

Hanna Grass, Writer

Imagine you are a wolf; crazy, I know. But just hear me out. Close your eyes and imagine you are a wolf in the wilderness among your pack. In this little fantasy, are you leading? Are you following? Or are you going in a completely different direction? Are you confident in the placement of your paws in the snow, or are you wary of how the other wolves slink silently by? When you notice that the moon is bright and high in the sky, are you the first to raise your snout to howl, or do you wait for another to start the ritual? 

As a wolf, where do you stand in the pack?

Now, with this concept of personal ranking in mind, I would like to introduce something called the male socio-sexual hierarchy or dominance hierarchy. In recent years, this caste system has spiked in popularity across social media, causing young men to reignite its sexist, and may I say, dull-witted and ludicrous values.

For those unaware, the socio-sexual hierarchy consists of seven different male personality types that determine where one will rank in society. These seven categories are based on a man’s levels of masculinity, approachability, likability, influence, and power.

Ranking from the top of the socio-sexual pyramid to the bottom, the male personalities are as follows:

1. Sigma male

2. Alpha male

3. Zeta male

4. Beta male

5. Delta male

6. Gamma male

7. Omega male

If one simply types the phrase “sigma male” into Google, an endless treasure trove of content ranging from quizzes, videos, and guides to how to become your peak “sigma” self as a guy. As a young woman, this seems absurd, for humans are not meant to be defined or shaped into one personality type of mindset. We are unique individuals and are meant to embrace our differences, preferences, and variations. So what is the purpose of categorizing oneself on a pointless pyramid of testosterone and toxic masculinity?

“The purpose of finding out where you fit in the male social rankings pyramid is not to sit and feel sorry for yourself if you find yourself being on a lower rung than others you know,” Life By Design, a website targeted towards informing men on this particular hierarchy, states. “The purpose is to determine what you are doing that makes you an easy target and seem weak in the eyes of other men, women and the man looking back at you when you look in the mirror.”

While I understand the underlying tones of self-discovery and growing into who you wish to become, the socio-sexual scale has blown its positive origins way out of proportion. 

Popular influencers such as Andrew Tate and other young stars on TikTok and YouTube began preaching these morals as the right and wrong ways to live “as a man” in society today, causing the culture to spread like wildfire, both satirically and seriously. Primarily the younger generations of men started worshiping stereotypical sigma males in television, movies, video games, or even books, shaping their personalities around the commanding qualities of that character.

A prime example of this misdirected character worship was the serial killer, Patrick Bateman, portrayed by Christian Bale in the 2000 Thriller/Horror movie American Psycho.

“Sigma” is a term applied to one who unwittingly goes against societal norms without hesitation or care, rising above every conflict faced. Personally, I think a sigma personality, male or female, is unattainable and unrealistic. Humans as a species are too complicated to be grouped into a single terminology or even a socio-sexual pyramid, but the term was met with eager eyes and immense interest. Media users started to describe obscene “out-of-pocket” acts as “sigma behaviors.” Taking these oftentimes comical acts and pairing them with a successful business person who never bats an eye, like Bateman, became a perfect combination for the internet. Bale’s role is now synonymous online with sigma behavior and the ideal sigma male.

It seems that wherever I go on the Internet there is some headline, hashtag, or phrase revolving around an individual or character being categorized within the socio-sexual hierarchy. I think this trend of masculinity, while seemingly innocent and comical, is actually a serious problem and may ultimately push society back in the strides of gender equality we have so long fought for. 

After doing a deep dive on the advice on the Internet on how one “can climb the ladder” to the top of the socio-sexual pyramid and become a sigma male, I not only got the ick, but also saw how much of the content promoted unhealthy masculinity and toxic archetypes of what a gender should be. 

“A good man is getting hard to find these days and that is exactly what women really want. Sigma males are what women are looking for and when you sit down and think about this for a while – it is exactly what you have been looking for to become,” Life By Design preached to its audience. Yikes.

I do not want to live in a world where sigma males are the ideal man, let alone live in a world where there are absurd, outdated, and sexist expectations for men to live up to. I understand that not everyone is a follower of these trends or values, but the content has an undeniable audience that if not properly addressed and educated, will only grow and leave an impression on incoming generations. 

It’s time not to redefine “what it means to be a man”, but undefine the male species. They are simply people and do not need to be categorized as a sigma, omega, or anything in between. It’s time to let go of those expectations; let go of the underlying stereotypes that still circulate today. It’s time to exit the manosphere.